Connectivity, dispersal behaviour and conservation under climate change: a response to Hodgson et al.
Hodgson et al. [Journal of Applied Ecology 46 (2009) 964] argue that connectivity is complex and uncertain, that it can be improved incidentally by increasing habitat extent, and that connectivity conservation is unlikely to be effective under climate change. We believe that they have overlooked recent research on dispersal behaviour and structural connectivity, which has improved our understanding of functional connectivity and revealed that it will not necessarily increase with habitat extent. New modelling techniques including least-cost path models incorporate this more detailed understanding of connectivity into conservation planning, facilitating the true aim of connectivity conservation - to ensure appropriate interactions between habitat extent, quality and connectivity. Synthesis and applications. Advances in behavioural research and modelling techniques allow us to manage structural connectivity with as much certainty as we manage extent and quality of habitat. Successful landscape conservation to address both current threats and future climate change must manage these three elements in concert.